Richard Eusden is on his way to work in London one unremarkable winter morning when he is intercepted by his ex-wife, Gemma. She has sad news of his old friend, Marty Hewitson. Marty is dying, but needs a favour done for him at once.
Eusden reluctantly agrees and sets off on what should be a simple errand. But soon it turns into a race for life, his and Marty’s, across Belgium, Germany and Denmark and on into the Nordic heart of a mystery that somehow connects Marty’s long dead grandfather, Clem Hewitson, an Isle of Wight police officer, with the tragic fate of the Russian Royal Family.
Eusden discovers to his dismay that he can trust no-one, not even an old and dying friend, in a battle for survival with those who are determined to steal the secret they believe he and Marty hold — and will kill for it if they have to.
At the start of Goddard's highly entertaining suspense novel, London civil servant Richard Eusden is contemplating "the predictable day and unsurprising week that lie ahead" one Monday morning outside his office in Whitehall. Then Richard's ex-wife, Gemma, pulls over in her car and insists he get in. Marty Hewitson, Richard's "childhood friend" and Gemma's "other ex-husband," is dying from a brain tumor, and she needs Richard to deliver to Marty an old leather attach case that belonged to Marty's grandfather, Clem Hewitson. An Isle of Wight police officer who's been dead more than 20 years, Clem was known to exaggerate and sometimes invent adventures that included spies, murderers, and arsonists. But this ordinary errand takes a wild turn, and soon Richard is crisscrossing Europe, dodging assassins trying to protect the satchel that may contain secret documents related to the Romanovs. Richard can't trust anyone, least of all Marty. Goddard (Long Time Coming) imbues his clever plot with hairpin turns and sophisticated humor.